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August 2000, Week 2


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Ed Owens <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 7 Aug 2000 16:34:30 -0400
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on 8/7/00 1:37 AM, Daniel I Humphrey at [log in to unmask] wrote:

> Surely many people on this list serve would agree with me
> that there is a *big* difference between the truly important
> theorization of technology provided by, say, Jean-Louis
> Baudry in his classic essay "Ideological Effects of the Basic
> Cinematic Apparatus" (or Walter Benjamin in "The Work of Art
> in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction") and the kind of
> rhetoric which so disinterests me...

I agree there is a difference, but as this list was not established to
merely discuss what interests you, nor to serve as a popularity contest in
determining who's right based on who has more supporters, I think there is
certainly room for both topics, as well as an even wider variety than is
currently being discussed.  Such close-minded approaches as the one stated
above are inherently counter to anyone's interests, as they seek to shut
down discourse rather than encourage it.

> I'm thinking now about the typical laser disc fetishist,
> hanging out at the video store all day, working him or
> herself up into a frenzy because IT'S ALWAYS FAIR
> WEATHER--composed for 2.55:1--was letterboxed at 2.35:1.
> ("Okay, okay.  You're right.  I'll sign your petition.  Can
> we talk about something else now, please?")

As a "typical laser disc fetishist," I am sorry to hear that IT'S ALWAYS
FAIR WEATHER wasn't properly letterboxed, and will gladly sign.  In the
meantime, I wonder if you are similarly apathetic about editing for
television, colorization, and the recutting of films thirty years later.

> It seems that far too often discussions of this sort become
> ends in and of themselves rather than part of a lager
> discussion of what (I would say) is really exciting about the
> cinema.

Odd that you would offset the most important part of the statement in
parenthesis.  The key is that the discussions you prefer may not be what I
prefer, and vice versa.  That certainly doesn't mean both can't be engaged
in on list, regardless of your beverage of choice.  That's why every email
program is equipped with a delete key.

> People more interested in discussing the Technicolor
> reds in VERTIGO than in the topics that film raises about
> misogyny, voyeurism, and the cultural construction of
> femininity seem to me willfully (even distressingly) blind to
> what's crucial... crucial not just in film but in life.

And people who refuse to acknowledge the possible value of discussing the
Technicolor reds in VERTIGO seem to me to have failed to learn to play well
with others.  How important, after all, is the framing and composition of a
film to its analysis?  Pretty important, given that analyzing a film's
treatment of a particular theme relies not only on the visual information,
but on just how that information is presented.  Please note that I am not
here arguing the value of one over the other, but merely wondering why the
two can't be considered of mutual (and even, as Leo suggested,
interconnected) importance.

Regardless, I find it somewhat ironic that we are currently discussing the
act of discussing film, rather than discussing film itself, and wonder if we
should not move on to what (you would say) is more exciting...

Ed Owens

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